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Yankee Captain and Southern Pilot

HE name of the boat is lost. But she will be memorable always for the passenger she carried to Havana in December of '29-a boy of Maine, Josiah Angier Mitchell.

It was just five years before Richard Henry Dana shipped for California that this other New England youth-destined to fame for his heroic part in a terrible sea drama rather than for his written record-put his chest aboard a schooner bound for the Antilles. Yet he has left us some few writings, treasured letters in which the spirit of a "noble, simple-hearted man," as Mark Twain called him, speaks freely to his family and friends.

Remarkable it is that the fates of these two, the Freeport boy cast for an ocean command and the Hannibal lad bound for a pilot's berth on the Mississippi, should have been so interwoven, should have brought them to so strange a rendevous. For it was the cask of varnish and the unguarded candle, the holocaust at sea and Captain Mitchell's matchless Odyssey, these and Cleman's long night of writing, which converted a discouraged Grub Street scribbler into a literary personage known and honored throughout the world.

But let the Freeport boy, young Mitchell, speak for himself. His trunk has been stowed, the boat has hauled out into the stream and stood away to sea, and the varied days of his voyagings begun:

Havannah, Dec. 29, 1829.

Dear Parents:

Supposing you feel some anxiety concerning me I will endeavor to write you a few lines. In the first place you must all excuse me for not bidding you Good Bye. But how could I?-my feelings wouldn't let me do it. When Pomeroy brought me the dollar I could not say good bye.

I was rather homesick the first day or two, and come to turn in at night how I felt! Then it was I thought of home, tears supplied the place of sleep, but soon these feelings wore away. I was seasick but very little. We had very pleasant weather until the Sunday after we came out crossing the gulf stream-in about two hours before when the mate called the Captain and told him it was blowing very heavy-I went upon deck. The seas were running mountains high. At one moment the ship would ride upon the top of the waves and the next plunge into the abyss beneath. The scene was awful but grand. Every few minutes the sea would break

By HAROLD WALDO Illustrations by the Author

over her, it carried away a barrel of new cider and a half barrel of tongues and rounds lashed strong to the deck, and if the pigs hadn't known how to swim they would have been gone too. Then I would have given anything to be at home, but I must say that I like the sea fully as well as I expected.

We arrived here Christmas Day after a passage of sixteen days. I ate my last apple yesterday, my cakes I have some of them

yet. Captain Maxwell, the mates and likewise the crew have all been very kind to


There is now in this place two frigates and about 6 men of warships. I should like to have you hear the music they make. They play every morning and evening, it is delightful. They all fire a gun at sunrise and sunset and every flag in the harbor lowers at once. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Give my love to all my brothers and sisters and likewise inquiring friends. Kiss Su for me. Excuse my writing, it is dark, my pen is poor and I have no knife to mend it.

From your affectionate son, Josiah A.

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Hal Waldo

the sea," he says, "its songs and stories in the mere sight of a ship-and in the sailor's dress."

When young Mitchell assumed his first greenhorn sailor outfit it was precisely the costume worn in Dana's day-a gallus red or checkered shirt; a black tea-plate of a hat, varnished up to beat an amen corner, exactly the hat that Cap'n Cuttle wears in the immortal drawings of Phiz, with its fathom or so of black ribbon; wide flaring duck trousers and black or colored kerchief. All fair-weather togs to be sure, and bound to give place in making "the Horn" to heavy seaman's slops of tarred and icy dungarees,

a clumsy armor to go with sleeted beard and frozen bleeding hands.

In spite of bitter hardships and toil which came to salt and drench the new life at sea, "blue water" and rigorous usage built upon the slender frame of the Freeport lawyer's boy a staunch young ship's officer. And sometime between young Dana's return to Harvard College and the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, Josiah Mitchell won his Master's Ticket and, with all the masterful address of those glorious clipper days, laid his new ship on for San Francisco!

We see him in his picturesand through the eyes of his little daughter Florence-(living in California today)-standing out a man of firm straight bearing, of square shoulders, heavy brown hair and resolute deep blue

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wildest dreams from a scene of shouting crowds at Bristol on Severn-and from that pillar of fire upon the lonely Pacific which marked such a climax in his life and such a turning point in Samuel Clemens'!

The Captain's daughter, Mrs. Florence Hudson, who lives now in Alameda County, writes: "I have a letter from his father addressed to him as Captain written in 1849 just before his sailing for San Francisco, with many of the hometown boys in his crewbound for the Land of Gold-and expecting to be away two years—" So the counsellor's boy of Freeport "cracked it on" his big ship, to transport his boyhood 'townies' on that 15,000 mile Argonautic sweep to California! "Ho, Sussanah, don't you cry for me, I'm going to Californy With my banjo on my knee!"

We have a letter from him written shortly after this time (in November of '53) to his daughters Mary and Abby. Something about the gentleness of it tells us more of the heart of Captain Mitchell than a volume of tertium quid descriptions.

Island of Saboga, Nov. 28, 1853. My Dear Little Abby:

I received your kind little favor written all in capitals, and could read every word of it without any trouble at all. And I'm afraid if I shouldn't answer it right away you would feel hurt and not write me again, so you see I shall reply to it this first opportunity, thanking you again and and again for the pleasure your letter afforded me. You can learn much from mother and sister Mary this winter, and when you go to school in the spring you can go into the second class perhaps. You did not say one word about sucking your thumb or looking cross-eyed, so I suppose you do neither now. What grand times you must have with Mr. Reid's piano. Often times I imagine myself listening to your music and wish it was really so. You must give my love to all your little friendsEmma, Willie and all of them. And be a good little girl till father comes home. Your loving father,

J. A. MITCHELL. "Till Father Comes Home!" Magic phrase! And what wonderful times those were when father came home to the large square house under the great elms! "I remember," his daughter writes, "when a little girl in the house at Freeport we had a little King Charles spaniel, and when father would come home from his long voyagesometimes over a year-that little dog would be so delighted to see him, would climb all over him and couldn't keep away-and we could actually see him laugh with joy!" From these words, written this year of 1923, how easy to picture once again the wind-bronzed figure, and to feel the breath of romance he brought from the corners of the globe

the room, sitting up on the high mantel. Another time he brought a box of French prunes big and flat and a glass cover to the box. Prunes were not as plentiful in New England in those days as with us at the present time. It was a great treat to be allowed to go to the china closet and have one prune from that wonderful box."

Observe that these prunes came from France, and not California. The Captain's cargos from California these days were of grain, which he sometimes carried to Europe, returning from thence with emigrants sometimes; loading in New York with general merchandise for California; from there around the Horn once more, in California grain or in ballast to Pabillon D'Pica off the coast of Chili where a load of guano might be waiting him. And thus this kindly Captain, so different from the bully, bull


necked type that protrudes so formidably in legal ably in legal records and in fiction, moved on through the years, with their long voyages, drawing ever nearer and nearer that pillar of fire on the desert bosom of the Pacific-and to his meeting with the pilot.

These were, perhaps, the happiest days of the Captain's life. On nearly every voyage now he had with him his beloved son, Harry. And then, to crown his loyal service, came the Captain's splendid great command-the fire-new "City of Brooklyn"-one of the finest clipper ships that ever cleared from New York harbor-a topnotch entry amongst those great white racehorses of the sea which showed their heels to every known cut of vessel in the world and snatched the American colors across the finish miles to the fore-"and going away!"

ND now comes little Sister Mary's

to the snug old, big old white house in prodigious treat-such a treat as


"Once father brought me a big china doll. I can just see it as I came into


comes to few girls anywhere—to sail with a captain father in the queen of

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In Mary's note to Abby I informed you of our safe arrival at King Roads in sixteen days from New York. Arrived safe in dock on Monday the 25th inst. and such a turning out of the people to see the great American Clipper (she is the largest ship that ever came up the river) you would never believe if I were to tell you. banks of the river were lined with people from the very entrance up to the dock gates -and as we approached the town became one dense mass of people-ships, pier heads, docks and houses completely covered.


Talk about the excitement produced by the Great Eastern's arrival at New York, or the ovations to Mr. Lincoln, why 'twas nothing compared to it. Mary was perfectly wild with excitement and wonder at the novel sight, and no wonder at it. The Ship was in very fine order and looked well, lying in the roads so long gave us ample time to put her in tip-top condition. The consignees are young men and very proud of the consignment. They put a piece in the paper respecting her passage across, her size, immense length, etc. etc., and the whole town turned out en masse.

Mrs. Ward the consul's lady took charge of Mary the moment she arrived and says she cannot leave there until the ship goesbut I cannot consent as I want her company on board, beside Mrs. W. will induce her to make more bills than I shall be willing to pay. Already she has told her she must discard her winter hat, and get a new straw. Also selected a silk for her and got a dressmaker at the house. New boots and gloves. I told Mrs. W. last night I shouldn't stand any more such work as that, I should be ruined before I knew it. Mary says she, Mrs. W., don't allow her to have anything to say about it.

They are very intimate with the family of the French consulate and others of like order. So Mary will have the opportunity of seeing something of life abroad, and I hope will improve from it. Last night she went out to a family dance, and tomorrow evening Mrs. W. has one at her house. She is a very accomplished lady, has been in all parts of Europe. Sings and plays beautifully. Speaks French, Italian and German. House is full of paintings, portraits and copied from the oldest painters. All by her own hand. Is nearly fifty years of age, the mother of three grown-up children and altogether is the most remarkable But I American lady I have ever met. think you must be tired of our reception at Bristol. I only wish My Dear Wife that you were here to be with Mary and to give me the pleasure of your society when I go home nights.

It's Good Friday today and a great holiday. The ship is crowded with visitors, and since I have been writing all of 100 ladies and gentlemen have pushed their way down here in the cabin to gaze and stare-and my ears are constantly saluted with, isn't it elegant; how beautiful; splendid, and every manner of expression. I write on without looking up.

Quite evidently the Consul's lady impressed herself upon the captain's imagination as an Al Manager, Lloyd rating. She would allow Mary "nothing to say"-so poor Mary must bear up against the orders of new finery with what cheer she could summon up. Sister Mary was the tippety-witchety mem

ber of that happy circle of four young Mitchells.

Time came for her and for little Florence to go away to boarding school. And then Harry, immensely to his father's regret, gave up the sea. The saddened and lonely man writes home: "Have been out from Valparaiso five days, lonesome and homesick enough. I have no Harry to talk with now. I miss him every hour of every day, and never felt the absence of any person so much in my long experience of partings and leave-takings. I hope they are nearly over now.'

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The space which separates the kindly captain from that catastrophe and terrible adventure on desolate seas is very narrow. He, with his helpless crew of mixed aliens, will soon be close upon it. "Those men" would "not survive by any merit of their own, but by merit of the character and intelligence of the captain," said Samuel Clemens. "They lived by the mastery of his spirit."

"Mary thought quite seriously of going with Father on the voyage of the Hornet", says her sister, Mrs. Hudson, the "little Fody" of his letters.

"Thank God she did not come!" must have been his inward cry again and again, great as had been the longing for the companionship of his family-a longing that made him write home: "What would I not give to see you all this fine day-and have a good long chat with you some music with Abby-a walk and race with Mary-and a good nice time with Fody-and such a pleasant evening with you all. My home never appeared half so dear to me as now."

The Hornet sailed from New York in the year of Lincoln's re-election; rounded the Horn in fair weather, and came streaming up to the line in glorious style "a Cape-Horner under a cloud of canvas." On the morning of May 3rd, in a blistering haze of heat, there came a cry of fire. A nameless sailor had tried to draw some varnish from a cask by candle-flare. An instant blaze was the result, and all the shipthe proud Cape-Horner which had stepped in such regal style-was soon trembling with the furious reverberations of the blaze. Smoke and flame cut them off with short provisions, and the three ship's boats, two quarter-boats and a long boat, put away under command of the captain in the long boat. There began then the unparalleled trip-fortythree days in the tropics in an open boat on ten days rations-a traverse in all of four thousand miles.

How the captain scaled down the rations, made sail on the long boat, towing the quarter-boats behind, how necessity. compelled the boats to separate, how the long boat, alone, with its fifteen crazed and haggard men came through

terrible tropic storms and survived the long crawling days, passing above the islands they had hoped to find, getting down to the last bread crumb and sucking sustenance from boots and greasy rags and socks and handkerchiefs,-all of this Mark Twain has told in his amazing account entitled, "My Debut As a Literary Person."

Through hunger and fear the men's minds broke down, they fancied that the captain had millions in gold hidden from them; they plotted to kill him, to murder and eat each other. They had become madmen. In these terrible straits Captain Mitchell had use for all the iron resolution, all of the sympathy and faith that had made him so remarkable a captain of men.

An entry in his Log for June 5th says:

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terest of this story is unquenchable; it is of the sort that time cannot decay, for by some subtle law all tragic human experiences gain in pathos by the perspective of time."

The whilom Mississippi Pilot was in Honolulu at the time, writing weekly letters to the Sacramento Union. When the long boat's crew were brought to Honolulu, Anson Burlingame, Lincoln's minister en route to China, had the sick and discouraged newspaperman carried on a stretcher to the hospital where the crew lay, and there Clemens took down their story, labored on it all the night through, and in the early hours of the morning had it carried to the wharf and tossed by a stout arm across the widening waters to the departing packet, San Francisco bound.

From Hawaii Captain Mitchell wrote home, under date of July 3rd: "Bid farewell to the kind people of Hilo and with tears running down our cheeks embarked for Honolulu. Here, as at Hilo, everybody seems to feel that they cannot do enough for us. Mr. Burlingame in particular has been exceedingly kind and attentive to me. Says I am one

of the great men of the age, that the voyage in the boat from the time we left the ship to the time we landed was the greatest exhibition of moral power in the government of men ever heard of -I could only tell him what was perfectly true that it was no credit belonging to me, that I felt from the moment we got into the boat that we were in God's hands and there was no hope but perfect trust in him.

"Where are the girls?


How much

I have thought of you every day since I got into that boat! I shall know everything when I get to San Francisco and see Harry. Darling little Fody I suppose is with you. Think I shall enjoy my home more than ever-God grant it."

Once on board the boat for San Francisco, the Captain and the pilot, prototypes each of that grand, extravagant heyday of American commerce on ocean and great river, tramped the decks together for twenty-eight days. There Mark Twain gathered the materials which he wove into the new Odyssey which was soon to make him a literary figure in the United States. Already the country was ringing with the news contained in his brilliant newspaper "beat."

In those days on deck the Southern Pilot came to know the Yankee Captain well. "A bright, simple-hearted, unassuming, plucky and most companionable man. I remember him with reverent honor!"

The story of the Counsellor's boy who went to sea hastens on to its close. (Continued on page 233)

With Reluctant Feet

was on the back porch, tying up blue strands of morning glory that the wind of the night before had loosened.

The blossoming vines made a pretty frame for the pretty picture that seemed a part of the June garden-a California garden decked as as for a festival of love. There, leaning over the low white fence, was Ruth DeLacey, of the solemn grey eyes, talking to Paul -my son Paul, heart of my heart. And somewhere in the house daughter Janice, returned from boarding school but three days ago, raised a bird-clear voice in a song that was all of love.

Into the picture strode John Smith, father of Janice and Paul-for twentyfive years my "Johndear." I do not often call my husband by this pet name, nor show him my sentimental side. A peacock in our poultry yard would be no more incomprehensible to him than is "Henrietta" in a poetical mood. At John's side, suiting her step to his, came Enid Boyce, our house-guest, a new friend of daughter Janice. The "ridingtogs"-breeches, a mannish coat-announced her morning program.

I may be a bit old-fashioned; but I don't like mannish things for women. Contrasted with Ruth, in her crisp house dress of blue gingham, the girl-really beautiful-was at a disadvantage. I was sorry that Paul should see Enid in this get-up, for I wished him to be pleasant, at least, to our guest-and already her unfeminine ways had jarred his sensitive soul. Ruth's low, sweet voice brought me out of my abstraction.

"and right now our garden is full of the big-gest, red-dest strawberries! I'll make a strawberry shortcake, with thick cream on top

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And this, from my son: "If it's as good as that quarter section I had over at your house the other day, I'll write a poem to it."

John, as usual, had his say: "Oh, you women! Isn't it enough that the boy's mother coddles him half to death? Miss Ruth, this will never do!"

Ruth gave Paul the shielding, maternal look with which she had regarded him since she was six years old, and he a diffident boy of eight; but before she could speak, Enid Boyce had entered the fray.

"Strawberry shortcake! with cream!" she protested, though with a flashing smile that was like sunlight in a dark place. "And you take practically no exercise! Mr. Paul Smith, do you know what will happen to you? You'll get

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from a wedgewood bowl set atop the piano. The brown pottery jar on the library table held white roses-they always make me think of bridal wreaths; and on the broad ledges of the two open windows that overlooked the garden I had set tall vases of eglantine. Half the young folk of our little western town were present to welcome Janice.

How pretty, the blue-eyed girl! Changed, yes. But-in spite of bobbed blonde locks, skirts shorter than short, a bewildering vocabulary of slang-still holding to that delightful freshness that can only be compared to dew on spring blossoms, or to the breeze of early morning.

who knows? I'm not, though. I am fat and fifty; and no one calls me pretty but my little neighbor, Ruth DeLacey. I repeat: I am not unduly given to criticism. To be up and coming with the new generation, to be alive to their interests, their pleasures, a companion to my daughter, my son's confidantethis was the duty I had set myself. But I could not always follow in the paths which they footed so fleetly. Sometimes, when my mental and spiritual breath gave out, I was glad to sit in the green shadow of the lilacs (people don't grow lilacs any more) in our back yard, and read Tennyson and Longfellow (who have "gone out," I'm told) with Ruth DeLacey. Or we would embroider, or plan little surprises in cookery for our respective families.

I was thinking that I shouldn't have so much time for Ruth, now that daughter Janice was home again. And at that moment, Janice, catching my eye across the room, blew a kiss to me from the bunched tips of her rosy fingers. Under the cover of humming conversation, laughter, I leaned and whispered to John:

"Standing with reluctant feet

Where the brook and river meet."

The head of thick curls feathered with silver turned slowly my way; under serene silver brows John's blue eyes, as young as the eyes of his daughter, laughed into mine.

"Stand! Why, Henrietta Smith! That girl stand? She wouldn't hesitate a minute. She'd kick off her pumps and wade right in."

I saw, then, that he had been watching Enid, not daughter Janice. The girl, dark, thin, moved with an effortless grace that surprised. This was the secret of her charm. She surprised. And not least among her surprises, her elfish I had just heard her say to Enid face, under a mop of dark hair, cloudily Boyce:

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fine, now and then warmed into passionate beauty.

"I wonder?" I said to John. He grunted, which meant that he listened; so I floundered on: "I fear that she isn't the sort of intimate for Janice. Her her language-I distinctly heard her say-well, she swore this morning when she snagged her riding breeches. And for a girl to wear-breeches! She's so much older than Janice-"

John, slewed sidewise in his chair, checked my whispered confidence.

"Wore 'em in France, most likely. Got used to 'em. Do you remember? No? Well, I read it in the paper at the time. She was driving an ambulance; and she came to a field cluttered

up with dead and wounded men-not a nurse or a doctor or a stretcher-bearer in sight. And what does she do? Grabs a tin cup and carries water from a river half a mile away, the night long-the whole night long, with shells falling-" The DeLaceys, Ruth's aunt and uncle, with whom she lived, came in, and I lost the rest of the story; but I was glad-afterward-that John had told


moving picture theater in our midst confirmed our belief. It remains for Miss Boyce to introduce the one-piece bathing suit-the last metropolitan touch."

Enid turned her slim back to his intent gaze-a look that would have bruised her spirit had she seen it-and with the swiftness of swallow-flight her nimble mind was away on other conversational quests.

As it chanced, my roving glance stopped at Mrs. DeLacey. For once I recalled with satisfaction-since my son showed an interest in her niece-her proud boast of blue blood. She sat, now, as always, leaning impetuously forward, her lips parted childishly, her eyes wide and wondering-an ineffectual woman. She would have been called "shif'less"

All eyes were drawn to our guest, Enid, as she went the rounds of the crowded room. But no! I was mistaken. Paul, who had slipped in, was devoting himself to quiet, gray-eyed Ruth, who wore a white gown made over from one that her aunt had worn the summer before. I had realized that now, more than ever, Paul would avoid Enid. He had never cared for girlsthough he was friendly with Ruth. But this-this new devotion-was something COME

more than mere friendliness. Could it be that-?

Paul, my shy, golden-brown godling, my boy, as Janice was her father's girl, who would do the things I had planned to do-Had I lost him? Was Ruth the girl that my incomparable son would choose? I told my jealous heart that it had nothing to fear, that Paul had thoughts only for the messages of beauty which he wrote, messages which the world would one day read and be glad that he lived.

And yet, if the magic of youthtime, of the June night, with the moon hanging like a silver lamp over the perfumed garden where bride roses were bursting into white song, with pink, yellow, and crimson roses for a bridal chorus-If!

Ah, Yes! If love-time had found him, I should rejoice that Ruth would go hand in hand with him down the years. She would be a devoted wife, as she had been a devoted daughter to the childless couple who claimed her service.


My glance wandered unseeingly from one to the other of the gay groups. had been aware, but a moment since, that the general conversation had taken an unusual turn. Now I heard the startling declaration of Enid, our guest: "Why of course you should get onepiece bathing suits for your swimming club, girls. There is no freedom of movement in any but the one-piece garment. I'll show you tomorrow. really you know, one-piece suits are prettier."


"Hear! Hear!" cried daughter Janice, her white hand flashing upward in salute. "It's a grand idea, if you don't weaken."

Mr. DeLacey, Ruth's uncle, drawled amusedly:

"We thought that we were getting citified when we began to have neighborhood dances in the school house. A


OME back ye days of inspiration sweet, When argent sickle harvests rich o'erspread,

And thirsting minds to cooling brooks were led

By masters wise who laved Minerva's feet. Those days of yore my heart o'erflows to greet

When bright ideas burst from fettered head As velvet wings from chrysalis; when tread Of Homer's men thrilled souls with rapture


Sweet "as remembered kisses after death,"

Sweet as blue violets fresh with morning dew,

Sweet as the honey sipped from clover's heart,

These college memories are; a perfumed breath

From some Elysian past touched with heart's


Yet sacred as the muse to poet's art.

-Viola Price Franklin.

by an older generation; but to me appealed as rather a helpless person. A distinct talent for club work had brought her in contact with the best people; none the less I felt myself superior to her. There was not such another cook in town as "Aunt Henrietta." The Smiths are good livers. I did not neglect my home for club work. Neither did I smilingly shift the burden to younger shoulders, as she had done with Ruth.

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ing his slippers a fact I had just discovered. Nevertheless, we were accounted wealthy in that community, and enjoyed ourselves in our own way.

At the instant of recalling these things, I saw that Ruth and Paul had wandered over to the window. A moment later they disappeared, going by way of the side veranda door into the garden. I lost all interest in things of the moment. My thoughts bridged the years back to the night when I had found life and love in a June garden. I

The evening passed-somehow. was relieved when it was over, and everybody had gone home. Strange emotions stirred me as I moved about in my room. I had shut the door between John's room and mine, for John is a light sleeper, and I feared that my restlessness might disturb him. Out of that restlessness grew determination. I would help Ruth to win Paul. She should know that I was on her side. I turned on my desk light, and looked for pencil and paper; and in my loose, comfortable dressing gown, sat there and wrote the things that were in my heart.

"Little girl with the solemn eyes, and the mouth that was made for smilesand kisses, I feel very close to you tonight. Just why did you drop into the wrong cradle? Why aren't you making strawberry shortcake for me in my old age?

"I should like to have you, selfish creature that I am, all for myself, to wrap you 'round with love, and rock you in the big chair, and sing to you. Alas, my voice is not what it once was! A little thin, maybe, and wavering. But never fear; my heart does not waver.

"As I sit here in my room, in the cheerful light of my reading lamp and with the curtains drawn, I think what a cosy place it is for love and us. But I couldn't hold you any more than I could sing to you, for I haven't any lap!

"Forgive me, dear, that I did not know you sooner. Now I see with eyes no longer blind. You are my child, my other daughter that was not born of my body. Could you manage, in the next incarnation, little daughter-that-I-never had, to be mine entirely?"

I folded the note and laid it on the

desk, to be sent over in the morning; and lifting the curtain, for a time I leaned from the window.

Perhaps I was over-tired. Perhaps mother-love reaches out to meet the Things to Come. All night I dreamed of Janice of Janice in danger. As unrefreshed as when I lay down, I arose, in the early morning.

I went about the preparation of a picnic luncheon which the young people were to take to Leaf Lake. Paul would not go; he was writing a poem. At nine (Continued on page 230)

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